Tribute Video To Truckers Goes Viral! Meet The Truck Driver Behind It
Little Rock, Arkansas – Before this week the most views 50-year-old trucker Bill Everly says he ever received on one of his YouTube videos was “34.” That all changed on Monday.
Everly, who spent 23 years as a tattoo artist before becoming a professional truck driver, produced and published a tribute video to truckers that has now gone viral on Facebook. As of this writing his video entitled “The Life Of An OTR Driver,” is approaching 200,000 views and is well on its way to millions of views. (Watch it below.)
“I am so overwhelmed,” Everly told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) in our exclusive interview. “I saw that it hit 60,000 views and I cried. I actually cried,” he said.
The less than 5-minute video set to Journey’s all-time favorite classic hit, Faithfully, is delivered from Everly’s perspective about the experiences he’s had in his 5-year career as a trucker. Even though Everly has only been in trucking a short time, he’s worked as a driver trainer, owner-operator and now a company driver again.
In that time, Everly, who is known as the Salty Pirate on YouTube, said he’s seen first-hand the disrespect truckers are shown. “I have seen how hated we really are,” he lamented. “We don’t get the respect we deserve.”
However, Everly said the video is intended to be a tribute to all the men and women behind-the-wheel. “A lot of people think it’s a sob story type video, but it’s really about wanting the general public to know what we go through,” Everly said.
The idea began brewing inside Everly’s mind about a year ago. Like many artists will do, he would often take notes about what he wanted to say. Then just recently Everly said he got serious about finishing the video while on a 34-hour reset. “It only took me 8 to 10 hours to actually to put it together,” Everly said.
Woven throughout the video presentation are themes over-the-road truckers can relate to like loneliness, sacrifice, danger, disrespect, hard work, and gratitude. However, the overarching messages Everly delivers so powerfully and beautifully is the love of family, and the pain felt with every mile of missing them.
The video begins with Everly’s 7-year-old daughter, Debbie, saying, “Hi daddy! I miss you. When are you coming home?”
“Being away from family is the hardest part,” Everly then says to the viewer.
“Hi daddy! Today’s my birthday,” Debbie says. “Hi baby girl! Daddy wishes he could be home with you today,” Everly gently responds in hopes of comforting her.
Debbie then asks the question all OTR truckers have heard from their children at one time or another. “Are you going to be home for Christmas?”
Everly’s ex-wife, Dawn, who he says is still his best friend, can also be heard asking him questions throughout the video such as when he’s going to be home. She also adds, “the kids miss you!”
Everly told TNN what makes trucking the most difficult for him is being away from Debbie for so long. “The saddest thing about being a truck driver is rediscovering my daughter every time I go home,” he said. Though Everly speaks with Debbie on FaceTime “most days,” he said phone calls are just “not the same” as being there.
Everly said he used to see Debbie “maybe once per month,” but not lately. Like too many owner-operators, Everly recently bought a used Peterbilt and things went south. The truck required a flurry of unexpected repairs, and before Everly knew it, he was in over his head having racked up more than $24,000 in crushing debt.
“I was so broke. I didn’t have two nickels to rub together,” Everly recalls. He stays out long periods of time now trying to pay down the balance.
It’s not the first time Everly has faced difficult circumstances and had to persevere through them. Before driving a big rig he owned a successful tattoo business. Unfortunately, other artists began “undercutting” him on prices and he said “the bottom dropped out.”
Everly said his claim to tattoo artist fame was once tattooing a butterfly onto the foot of Melissa Gilbert, star of the classic television show Little House On The Prairie. Aside from losing his business, Everly’s one big regret is what he called a “business decision” to have his face tattooed.
He did it because he once worked for an artist named Hawk who had his face tattooed. Hawk then saw an increase in business and Everly thought it could work for him. Indeed it did.
Everly said he too experienced a boom in business after tattooing his face. “I went from making sixty to seventy-thousand dollars a year to one-hundred thousand because people would come in and know I was the guy they wanted to see,” Everly recalled fondly.
Everly then offered some pointed advice for anyone who might be thinking about doing the same. “Don’t do it! People stare,” Everly warned. It’s especially difficult now that he’s single because “trying to find someone who will accept this tattoo is damn near impossible,” he said.
Had Everly thought about it a bit more he said he might not have made the same decision. That’s why it’s important to him now for his videos to cause people to think a little more about how they are treating themselves and those around them.
When asked why he believes his most recent video has been so well-received, Everly said it’s all about the heart. “I think it’s because it tugs at the heart, honestly,” he said.
Does it ever! The viewer doesn’t learn whether “daddy will be home for Christmas” until the very end of the presentation.
“No, I was not home for Christmas this year,” Everly said sadly. Why? You probably already guessed it. “I spent Christmas in a hotel waiting to start orientation on the 26th.”
So, Everly keeps driving and taking life one mile at a time. “I’m living every part of it,” Everly said proudly of his now viral video creation.
Click HERE to watch more of Everly’s videos on his YouTube Channel.
Everly claims in the video “truck driving is the most dangerous industry in our country today.” Everly acknowledged he was “misinformed” and has since learned trucking is not the “most dangerous” profession, though it is ranked inside the top 5-10 depending on the study. “I went back and looked and we’re like 7 on the list. It is what it is,” he told us.